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Friday, January 2, 2004

Twenty New Years Later
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In today's Washington Wire column, the WSJ points out that yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the AT&T breakup. According to the WSJ, today more than half of long distance calls are wireless. (Try asking your 18 year old with a bucket of anytime, anywhere cell phone minutes what "long distance" even means!). And the Journal item notes this as well: "In 1984, the Internet was just a twinkle in Pentagon researchers' eyes. Now consumers can make calls over it."

Message to the FCC and state regulators: It's way past time to reform the regulatory regime to match the realities of what is going on in the marketplace. For all the support you need, see the Contestability report that Joseph Kraemer, Richard Levine and I released in early December documenting the surge of new competition from wireless, cable telephony, electronic messaging, VoIP, and others.

Suggested New Year's Resolution for FCC and state regulators: Say "I will be bold in 2004" twenty times. Then actually be bold by creating a much more uniformly deregulatory regime that treats comparable services in a comparable fashion--regardless of what name the service goes by or what the piece of equipment looks like at the end of the line. Reduced regulation will encourage new investment by all the various facilities providers. If the courts don't back you up--always a possibility--then at least you will have done what is right and prepared the way for any necessary legislative action.

posted by Randolph May @ 9:39 AM | General

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